Did you watch the Super Bowl? Of course you watched the Super Bowl, you’re the Sports Guy, you kind of have to watch the Super Bowl. But did you like it? I didn’t really like it. I think it’s generally acknowledged that the game was boring, an uneven slugfest. Peyton didn’t have any time. The Seahawks defense was too good. Blah, blah, blah, these are all just generic Super Bowl bites that I’m rehashing almost directly from Grantland anyway.
But aside from the game, did you like the Super Bowl? Like, you’ve made a career out of following sports, writing about sports, so in many ways, this event is like the peak of everything that professional sports strives to be. Or, American professional sports anyway. Because the NFL is pure America, or it strives to be anyway. It more or less exists within the confines of the United States, and judging from the spectacle that was Sunday’s Super Bowl, it’s not a comfortable fit either.
Look at the NFL, and look at NASCAR, its racecar cousin. They’re both basically the same thing. They’re these giant sports that, for the most part, are totally inaccessible to the average American. Anybody can grab a basketball and head to the park for a little pickup, and it’s the same for baseball and soccer. But tackle football? The Daytona 500? You can’t go out and join a pit crew.
I guess you could join a pit crew. But you’d have to make it your job, like that would have to be your whole life. And so, unless you’re committed to climbing that ladder, unless you somehow find a way to coach or play football at some sort of a professional level, you’re really left with whatever the NFL or NASCAR decides to give you.
And, just like most of the writers at Grantland have been pointing out all season, they’re giving us these shows. The NFL has perfected football as an event, as sports entertainment. It’s big, it’s loud, and it’s got something for everyone.
Maybe it would have been OK if there were an actual football game to watch. But the one-sided assault that was Sunday night’s game brought into stark relief what a bunch of nonsense the Super Bowl is as a national event.
Commercials? Like, you have these increasingly rare moments when a large portion of the country turns its attention to the same thing at the same time, and the best we can do is a bunch of advertisements? I don’t care how entertaining you think you’re being trying to sell me Coca-Cola of Bud Light, it’s still a billboard, something that, if I were watching a regular TV show, something that I recorded on my DVR, I’d gladly skip over, one hundred percent of the time.
And I think about other sports, the finals in hockey, baseball, basketball, regardless of how we watch them on TV or follow them on the Internet, it’s all mostly centered around actual sports, fighting for the championship in front of actual fans. Maybe it’s just a natural consequence of the stop-and-go nature of professional football, and yeah, there were plenty of fans visiting New York from Seattle and Denver, but the whole event just felt fake, totally inauthentic. I was more interested in reading about the throngs of out-of-towners getting stuck for hours at some train station in Secaucus than I was in the actual game.
I don’t want to be a downer. But it was just really lame. The commercials were really lame. Yeah it was cool seeing Seinfeld and George act like Seinfeld and George, but was it really that funny? Was that cute puppy and horse Budweiser ad worth me tuning into Channel 5 rather than just clicking play on my computer?
I don’t know. Maybe if the Giants were playing I would have been a little more pumped.
Hey Bill, can I still have a job at Grantland? Please?